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March 2, 2021

What “special” pensions will the local barons collect

After the Senate adopted on Tuesday the draft law concerning the special pensions of local officials, the latter will benefit from pensions ranging from RON 1,000 to RON 6,500, depending on the office held and the number of terms in office. The minimum accumulated service needed in order to collect the pension is a full term in office, and the maximum accumulated service stands at three terms in office. Pensions will vary depending on accumulated service but also on the office held: commune mayor (RON 1,000 – 3,100), city mayor (RON 1,300 – 3,900), municipal mayor (RON 1,600 – 6,500), county council chairman (RON 1,700 – 5,200). The Senate was the decisive Chamber.

The MPs took the decision despite the fact that the draft law had been previously declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR).

The law concerning the pensions of local officials was adopted by the Senate with 101 votes in favour, one against and six abstentions, following a very brief debate.

PNL announced that it opposes the draft law. Despite agreeing with raising the incomes of local officials, the party considers that future governments should deal with this aspect.

“It’s clear that mayors are working for the communities they represent and they are still paid less than they deserve. (…) Any government that comes will have to have as priority hiking the salaries of mayors and local officials in general,” Liberal Senator Octavian Motoc stated during the debates.

Nevertheless, he stated that “the PNL group opposes the payment of special pensions to any special category.” “We have nothing against mayors, however there shouldn’t be any kind of exceptions,” he added.

Ovidiu Dontu (PSD), chairman of the Constitutionality Commission, stated that the draft law was analysed twice and the text put up for vote is constitutional, emphasising that the commission’s report was adopted with a majority of votes.

Early this year, the Constitutional Court admitted the challenge filed by the Ciolos Government against the constitutionality of the law on special pensions for local officials. The judges argued that the source of financing is not identified, but also pointed out that the draft law discriminates between the categories of local officials, local and county councillors not being included in it.

Although the law was declared unconstitutional, MPs searched for loopholes in order to solve the local officials’ issue. The law will come into force on 1 January 2017 and the funds will be earmarked from local budgets. This special pension cannot be cumulated with an MP’s pension, and those who received executory court sentences while exercising their prerogatives as local officials – mayor, deputy mayor, county council chairman and deputy chairman – will not benefit from this law, according to ‘Romania Libera.’

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